Lunch Bunch

Submitted by Debra Vanetten to Contest #15 in response to: Write about something you consider yourself an expert in, but do it from the perspective of a total novice.... view prompt

It was all going so smoothly. She whisked herself around the floor almost effortlessly, like she was gliding on a cloud...if a cloud could hold you, which I'm almost certain it could not.

I thought she looked well put together, especially for this hour of the morning on a Tuesday. Even in a simple pair of sweatpants with an over sized shirt, tussled hair and no make-up, there was a certain natural beauty to her. She was talking the whole time, to an audience that couldn't possibly be less interested in what she was saying. It didn't seem to matter to her, and she talked anyway. She was comfortable in these surroundings as well she should be, after all, it was her life.

A small dog was laying under the table. "Good place to be", I thought, with all that was happening around the room.

Cartoons on television in the background, half dressed children and half eaten bowls of cereal with milk dripping from spoons seemed to be everywhere. There was an argument taking place about who had the charger for the electronics last, and where it was now. IPads screaming to be used, low battery lights blaring louder in their minds than voices actually being heard. There were three of them. Two girls, one boy, all clamoring for technology, the morning sun beginning to shine into the kitchen windows. "Sign of the times", I thought, and despite all the other distractions, I watched her,

The boxed roll was blue and red and I heard the metal tare. Was it three or four pieces of aluminum foil she tore and put on the counter? I looked again. Four. "Four for sure", I thought, and laughed to myself at another rhyme that didn't really matter. I knew I'd remember it better that way. "Four for sure but two for you", is the other way. I had a way of making rhyme's to remember things. It's a bit of a habit.

The boy would have two I supposed. "Boys make noise".

She glided softly to her cupboard and got out the bag. I say glided because her thick socks acted almost like ice skates on her floors and I remember as a child doing the exact same thing at my grandmother's house. She didn't like us running around there, but sock skating was allowed.

I pulled myself back from my memory and watched her still at the pantry. She grabbed the large plastic bag. Flimsy in it's packaging, it's twist tie so mangled she resorted to just ripping it open from the top. I couldn't imagine how she couldn't have been distracted with the cartoons turning to loud commercials, and the IPad charger still not being found. I imagined this was her version of a normal Tuesday morning.

Lots of noise. I heard a man's voice in the background, but it was so inconsequential in this moment, I couldn't tell you anything more. I don't know if he was talking to her, to me, or to the children, or like her, maybe he was just talking to herself. She remained seemingly unfocused on her natural movements, and I was transfixed by her.

Over to the drawer in the kitchen, the one on the right hand side. Forks, spoons, knives and a host of other useful things. Measuring cups, a can opener, two burned and unwashed potholders, a cork screw. Lots of choices here. She chose a knife. A slender one, a butter knife. She closed the drawer with her hip and uttered a quite sigh. Back to it. This time, she retrieved a spoon.

When she opened the refrigerator door, it was like a silent alarm went out to the brood. A slight chill filled the room and for a moment, a brief undefined second, the brood was quite and attentive, until the boy found the charger, and the seemingly normal chaos ensued once again. She didn't miss a beat.

The containers looked to be heavy, but they weren't. At least not to her. She grabbed them both simultaneously, and until she opened them, I didn't know she was left handed. I though it odd that the useful things drawer was on the right.

She proceeded to arrange the slices side by side...eight in all. She carefully scooped two large spoonfuls of grape jelly and placed them on the center of each of the four pieces of bread, gingerly spreading them from the center outward. Careful to not touch the crust. "Jelly in the belly, crust not a must", I thought. The habit.

Slender knife at the ready, the peanut butter took longer. She gingerly spread that on the opposing side, careful once more not to touch the edges. I searched for a rhyme, but couldn't invent one quickly enough. "This step I might just have to remember by itself", I thought, and was pretty certain I could.

Although it was not in the room, I heard a phone ring. She didn't pay attention to it as she coupled each slice of bread together and gently tapped them down, uniting the ingredients in such a gentle way. She struggled with the butter knife to remove the, "crust not a must", and I suppose it would have been easier with a better knife, but this was how she did it. So I just watched. "Four for sure", I thought as I watched her quarter each one and swaddle them in aluminum foil.

The phone rang again but this time it wasn't ignored. The boy came running into the kitchen, displaying both the phone and it's caller, smiling with a grin larger than the one he had from finding the IPad charger. She took it from him, and hit the answer button carefully, as not to smudge the remnants from her hands onto the screen.

As she answered with a questionable, "Hello", I couldn't help but overhear the recorded voice from the caller. "School's closed due to snow", said the mechanical announcement on the other side. She hit the "end" button and just looked at me. Her shoulders may have dropped, but I can't say for sure.

"Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?", she asked.

"One and done", replied the habit.

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1 like 1 comment

03:06 Nov 25, 2019

I was instantly drawn in to the story. It was fun and well written. The only problems I found were I kept wondering who the narrator was (a child, a neighbor?) but that didn't affect the story, and there were a couple of typos. It seems no matter how many times I check my stories I always have typos. I loved the ending.


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